21 November 2016 - 12:31 • 13514 views



Enda O Coineen (Kilcullen Voyager Team Ireland): “This adventure is also a geography class.  Early in the morning we will be leaving the islands of Fernando De Naronha to Starboard, some 500 miles off the Brazil coast. It is here that fellow competitor, Frenchman Bertrand de Broc is moored. Sadly, due to a collision off Portugal, his hull is damaged and he decided not to risk the Southern Ocean and withdraw. Bertrand was much talked about in France during a previous race.  That was when his tongue somehow got cut and, helped by a doctor on the phone, at sea he managed to sew it back together again. Looking deeper, the islands are a UNESCO listed world nature reserve. You must get special permission to go there. From pictures, the scenery and beaches are amazing There is an abundance of turtles and sea life and an  ideal climate - definitely a place for the bucket list for the weekend or even a year? Perhaps do a Robinson Crusoe on it?”

Kito de Pavant (Bastide Otio): “The sky went dark yesterday evening. Suddenly the trade winds, which were getting increasingly light gave way to a southerly wind and rain, and we found ourselves heading into nasty choppy seas. We had to stow the downwind sails and switch to headwind sails, fill the ballast tanks, put down the daggerboard, cant the keel to try to deal with these southerly head winds. We’re heeled over, slamming… all that to get to an area of calms several hundred miles in front of us. We have no choice but to cross it...There’s no escape. But it least it isn’t so hot. I even wore a t-shirt during the night.”

Conrad Colman (Foresight Natural Energy): “Things are fantastic. The weather is beautiful, we've got 11 knots of wind, we're reaching and the sea is completely flat. We're just making our way south in beautiful conditions. It's great to be onboard. Stephane (Le Diraison) is a close friend of mine; we've known each other since 2009 and we did the Mini Transat together. It's pretty special actually to be racing next to a friend and competitor at this stage of the race two weeks in. Yesterday we had a long chat on the VHF, just two friends talking about how the race is going for each one of us. It's nice to have a little camaraderie in this solo race. [My position] is as good as can be expected really. There are still a lot of boats behind me which I'm very pleased and proud about. My plans for the next days are to go like hell. It's a bit tricky with this high pressure system. As the situation evolves, the wind is going to shut down on the south side of the course and we will have to go west slightly. And then around Thursday we will get into more stable winds and we will reform into our normal position and we should be back to broad reaching.”

Rich Wilson (Great American IV):“We're making our way south heading just about due south. Things have been pretty stable and everything's going well. We've got about 13 or 14 knots of true wind speed from ESE direction and with that there's pretty moderate sea conditions. We had a couple of minor things onboard the boat that I had to deal with – the hydrogenorator hydraulic stopped working so that was three or four days of trying to figure out a solution for it. I finally did and now it's all solved and the hydrogenerator is working now. Things like that get your attention for sure – one of the things I know about boats at sea is that when a boat needs you you have to deal with it right away, it doesn't matter what your speed is. In the last couple of days I've been able to get more sleep and that's helped a lot so I'm feeling pretty good about things right now. There's a group of 7 boats that got away and they're gone. They're on the other side of what's going to be a massively confusing weather situation right in the middle. There's really no telling what's going to be happen. It's gong to be a toss of the dice whether one can get to the south east.”

Jean le Cam, Finistère Mer Vent : "What a race! The leaders are really getting away racing like madmen. It’s crazy the gap between the leader and the tail end. We’ve got a little break here. Jean-Pierre (Dick) is further south. I let him go for a bit. He should be faster than me, but it all depends on the hold ups. We’ve extended the lead over Thomas (Ruyant). We’re going to be 2000 miles behind by the South. For those behind us, it’s going to be horrible. The situation was good for the frontrunners. Two days later and the door slams shut. I saw that Hugo Boss had broken a foil.It’s obvious that the time will come when he has to pay the price for that. So there are six of them contending for victory a fortnight after the start. Statistically, it has to be one of them.”